photo by Cherie-Lynn Buchanan
I have a secret, is what this picture says. I’m not going to tell you. I’m going to keep it in here and let it sparkle in my eye, and amuse me, and be the thing that makes me feel special even when I am overwhelmed, or terrified, or insecure, or intimidated.
The secret is that the photographer is very talented, and whatever she said made me make that face.
I like that face.
She took the photo in Costa Rica last month, at the very end of the ROAR Retreat that I attended as a great pilgrimage after all these years of redefinition. You can see it in my eyes, in my skin, in my hairstyle, even what I’m wearing. That gaping triangle of skin on my chest? Never in my real life, but given the courage and abandon I felt in Playa Conchal? Absolutely.
After 4 days of indulging in my every whim – cocktail, Senora? Yes please. Need a ride to your room? Si, senor. Kick my shoes off and swim in the body-temperature ocean? Outta my way. – I was feeling young/old. Adventurous, in touch, brimming with words and emotion. Living.
It’s been two weeks since I left Costa Rica. I have sat at my computer staring at the screen, looking at photos, reading other recaps and viewing others’ photos of our experience that was at once so communal and yet individual, unable to wrangle the words into line in a way that makes you understand what happened to me there. And so I haven’t been able to share it with you.
But this picture.
It’s the closest I get to this:
photo by Jonathan Carroll
…which is how I see myself on the inside. I’ve never really let her out, have I?
That’s the secret.